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Why is teaching so bad now and why?

Discussion in 'Personal' started by TheReal1, Jun 19, 2020.

  1. TheReal1

    TheReal1 New commenter

    I'm just about to complete my pgce in secondary mathematics. Everywhere I go online I keep hearing how bad of a profession it is. And I read that something like 60% of current teachers will leave in the next 5 years - pretty shocking! The most prominent reason I keep hearing for this is working conditions rather than pay.

    Like I know I could earn more money elsewhere with my degree in maths and I have been offered a few decent positions with larger salaries in other industries. But I've always been passionate about teaching so that's important to me I guess.

    I would like to know, how was teaching like before when it was 'good' and what has since changed to make it 'bad'? And maybe what could or should be done to make it 'good'?

    Thank you
  2. stopwatch

    stopwatch Lead commenter

    There was a recent thread which asked a similar question -something like ‘When did teaching start to go wrong’. It would be worth searching that out, although I am confident many will offer further opinion on this question too.
  3. stopwatch

    stopwatch Lead commenter

  4. colacao17

    colacao17 Senior commenter

    The teaching part is still great, when you're allowed to do it.

    But too much of it is spoiled by a combination of poor behaviour from students and, worse (and perhaps this contributes to the first) the rigid demands made re lesson style, the 'you must do things this way' which knocks all creativity out of it.

    Add to that the workload which results from paperwork and admin tasks which don't do anything to improve learning, and you're putting of the very teachers you most want to keep, those who teach beacuse they love teaching.

    I've been working overseas for a while where most of the schools I've worked in have allowed me to teach the way I see fit and where largely, behaviour has not been an issue.
  5. Dodros

    Dodros Star commenter

    I don't believe there ever was a "golden age" of teaching. Much of the teaching I received at my early 1960s boys' grammar school was dire, with some good features, as Ofsted would have written if they'd been around back then. Shakespeare wrote about "the whining schoolboy, with his satchel and shining morning face, creeping like snail unwillingly to school", so I don't suppose things were much better in his day. And Socrates may have been a celebrated teacher in his time, but even he ended up condemned for his teachings as a heretic and made to drink poison.
  6. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    When I started teaching, you didn’t check your pupils' GCSE results. They were their results and you were not held accountable for them. You could teach with or without plans as was your wont. Now, the good side of that was if you were a good teacher then you had free reign to run excellent classes, a great extra curricular offer and you enjoyed the job. If you were a rubbish teacher, you could get away with it. To tackle the outliers (for most teachers were good) they brought in excess scrutiny in the form of proxy data, league tables moving on to learning walks, book scrutiny and more. All of this is to catch out outliers - the occasional weak teacher. The majority of teachers, who are good, find the excess scrutiny in effect deprofessionalises them. To reprofessionalise themselves they have to leave teaching. It is still the case that most schools are well led, but there are some outliers who treat teachers badly. This is now amplified by the MAT system where some MATs (in reality, leaders) treat staff badly. Until they find a way to remove poor teachers and poor leaders without excessively scrutinising all the good teachers (and the good leaders with Ofsted) so we are stuck in a system which teachers leave in droves.
  7. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    I've always managed to stay pretty independent because it has generally been accepted in the schools where I have been that I know what I am doing.

    However, there is no doubt that the job has become less enjoyable over the years and particularly so since idiots like Gove and Wilshaw began their meddling.
  8. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    There are some teachers who really should find something else to do though. My colleague (much younger than I am) obviously hates the job - he has no real interest in it and his relationships with his students and the results he gets really show this.

    Next year I will be teaching the vast majority of the higher ability kids at GCSE and taking over a number of his classes. I know he is very resentful about this but in the 5 or more years we have been in the same department he has barely talked to me, has let me down very badly when we had to do shared tasks and NEVER been into one of my lessons.

    During this lock down period I have had to do virtually everything preparation wise - he has refused to answer emails and to be honest the bit of sympathy and empathy I had for him has drained away.
  9. MyOrchid

    MyOrchid Established commenter

    Socrates asked questions which lead people to question the established thinking and order, and was consequently forced to drink hemlock.
    People didn't like that even back then.....
  10. Dodros

    Dodros Star commenter

    My uncle, who was a teacher, and later a deputy director of education, used to say that "education is an interference with nature".
    DrLinus likes this.
  11. MyOrchid

    MyOrchid Established commenter

    I teach in a school outside the UK. We are not academically selective, but the majority of students come from families where education is valued. Student behaviour is generally very good, and although I have issues with some of the management's decisions the place is generally well run. I have significant control over how I teach. The salary is excellent by UK standards.

    This makes the teaching experience significantly better than that which many in the UK have to deal with, and is the reason that many teachers leave the UK.
  12. moscowbore

    moscowbore Star commenter

    I have always got good results and always improved departments which I have managed.

    Problem is that the profit related MAT system incentivises finding fault with teachers so you can pay them less or not give them payrises. Pay-related performance management, where the success criteria used to measure performance are usually ludicrous. All MAT performance management can be boiled down to a spreadsheet exercise. This is why I left England.

    OFSTED have a great deal of responsibility for destroying the state education system in England. They have the power to sack HTs and often do on dubious evidence gleaned from dubious inspections. HTs, fearful of their jobs, will follow any OFSTED requirement to the letter, no matter how ludicrous. Hence the need for lesson objectives, learning success criteria, measurable progress every 10 minutes etc.... They tell teachers how to teach. The worst is assessment week. A whole week every half-term used to ensure students get proof of how they are not meeting their ludicrous targets. Then there are the inevitable "interventions" which must be tracked and evidenced. The learning flightpath is a total piece of pedagogical nonsense yet senior management cling to it like it gives eternal life.

    Add to that a generation of young career-obsessed teachers who find themselves in senior management way before they are qualified and you have a perfect toxic mess. And teachers leave in droves. And they should.
  13. dumpty

    dumpty Star commenter

    I came to the profession late and was surprised at how rigid and closed the profession is. There is a belief all students are equal - sadly that has become 'equally dumb' and so it is with the teachers.

    Whether you have extreme talent in teaching or are dog awful, the idea is the system will make you both slightly below average teachers. Same with the children.

    And it does. Those at the lower end of ability stay and 'flourish' as reasonably incompetent (at teaching but critically not at box ticking and paperwork) while the most talented, thinking outside the box and teachers desperately wanted by the children, either quit or become resigned clones.

    I quickly gave up all ideas of working full time for reasons of sanity and now only look in now and then as a supply teacher.

    It is as said too closed and rigid now to change.
  14. Ivartheboneless

    Ivartheboneless Star commenter

    *simples; they let the "suits" take over.
  15. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    We have two young managers - both of whom are very much underqualified for their positions.

    One of them will be OK - the other one has already been responsible for getting rid of several teachers and will cause a lot of trouble before they are done. There is a reasonable chance they will become the headteacher of my current school - but I will have long since retired before that happens.
  16. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter


    And this

    lexus300, agathamorse and dumpty like this.
  17. Laphroig

    Laphroig Lead commenter

    As with any rewarding profession, teaching is a mixed bag of the good and the awful. If you really want to teach then nothing will put you off. If you are already having doubts then maybe teaching isn’t for you. Are you sure you are not experiencing collywobbles of the unknown?
  18. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    The thread title is ambiguous. The OK means, I think, that teaching as a career is seen as a bad choice, not that teaching by teachers is bad.
  19. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    I am anticipating a very tough year next year.

    But I'll still be excited in September.
    Laphroig likes this.
  20. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    This quote, which pretty much sums up the difference between teaching as i was when i started, in the late Seventies, and now.

    "Once, a teacher could feel like Michelangelo, with his paintbrush behind his ear, the blank ceiling of the Sistine Chapel above him, and the deep pockets of the Doge of Venice supporting him. Now, the teacher just does painting by numbers, with a cheap box of paints from Woolworths."

    In the Seventies, unless you showed evidence to the contrary, you were trusted to be a professional, and to do a professional job. Towards the end of my career, I felt profoundly distrusted, not only as a teacher, but even as someone who knew anything about the subject i was teaching. I felt like an army recruit, putting out my kit in a set pattern, ready for 'officer's inspection'.

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